Monday, June 29, 2009

Take Me Out To The Ball Game, Smithers

It's not often that I get to see how the other half lives. Sure, the life of a World-Famous Author of a Bicycle Blog Enjoyed By Dozens can be glamorous, but it certainly hasn't propelled me into the stratospheric upper reaches of society... yet.

Thankfully, I happen to be married to an unpaid graphic design intern, which -- in case you didn't know -- is quite the lucrative gravy train. For instance, just last week she was able to procure us a pair of these:

I can hear you saying, "Oh, c'mon... you expect us to believe that you had skybox seats to the non-stop thrill ride that is minor league baseball as played by a subsidiary of the ever-disappointing Chicago Cubs?" Yes, indeed, I did. Triple-A ball plus air conditioning, as our local Iowa Cubs did battle with the New Orleans Zephyrs at Sec Taylor Stadium. I know, the ticket says the game was played somewhere else, but a refusal to call this local landmark by its recently-purchased corporate moniker is the secret handshake into the "grumpy old locals" club.

I knew I'd made the big time when I settled into my seat (casting glances of mild disdain at the sweat-soaked riffraff far below in steerage) and a server immediately appeared to tend to my every whim. Not only that, she offered me the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase this beautiful, collectible souvenir for the low, low price of only six dollars plus a small gratuity!

And when my souvenir arrived, it was full of an intriguing frothy, fermented liquid in a curious shade of yellow. When I summoned the sommelier, he informed me that I had been served the "light" offering from a grower in the Budweiser region, 2009 vintage. Delightful!

Lest you think the evening was all fun and games, there are serious responsibilities for the titans of society who inhabit the upper reaches of the stadium. Late in the top of the eighth inning, Iowa Cubs manager Bobby Dickerson called time and strode with purpose to the mound. His relief pitcher Justin Berg was having some control problems (no doubt brought on by the searing -- I'm told -- heat and humidity outside my Bubble of Affluence) and had given up a few runs. When Dickerson turned toward home plate and cast a glance skyward, I knew my moment had come. I rose to my feet, and -- like the great emperors before me -- raised my arm to deliver a "thumbs down" signal. Dickerson gave a grave nod, turned to Berg, and broke the bad news. Berg trudged off the field to what's called the "bullpen," where -- I assume -- he was trampled and eaten by a herd of angry bulls. All I know is that he didn't play the next day... how do
you explain that?

Sure, the sour-grapes eaters out there are whining that watching baseball in a skybox is like sitting at home and watching it on TV. To those people, I say, does your TV look like this?

Or maybe this?

If so, the World Series party is at your house this year.

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